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Indiana and Purdue: A Rivalry Guide

We’re in the same state and different but that’s about it.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 04 Purdue at Indiana Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bloomington is in the south. West Lafayette is to the north.

Indiana is a primarily a liberal arts institution. Purdue is focused on technology, agriculture and engineering. Cream and Crimson, Black and Gold.

Hoosiers, Boilermakers and NCAA basketball banners.

Indiana’s two largest in-state public schools are incredibly different while being remarkably similar. We exist in different worlds and usually work in different fields but hey man we like basketball.

It’s because of this and a few other factors that this rivalry doesn’t burn all that hot. I, like countless other people from this state, grew up with people who went on to attend Purdue while I went to Indiana. We’re friends, neighbors.

This isn’t like an Ohio State-Michigan situation where we exist in entirely different states and have burning, white hot rage for the other. We kind of have to share this state. Then it’s gameday and we forget about all of that because oh man do we have to have that win.

Let’s get back to basketball. Each institution has been a destination for high-caliber in-state talent since, well, ever. It just so happens that Indiana took that talent and won five men’s NCAA championships that forever raised the program’s profile in the sport no matter how old they get.

Purdue has a banner though, the women’s program won a title in 1999 and remains, to this day, the only member of the Big Ten to do that.

There’s history, matchups and names written in box scores through the decades. John Wooden, Branch McCracken, Billy Keller, Bill Garrett, Rick Mount, Scott May, Glenn Robinson, Isiah Thomas, E’Twaun Moore, Eric Gordon, Cody Zeller, Caleb Swanigan, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Zach Edey.

It’s a long list (look sorry if I missed someone I only have so much space, deal with it).

Indiana has banners. Purdue leads the all-time series. Indiana gets big name recruits. Neil Armstrong walked on the damn moon.

Purdue women’s basketball has a banner. Teri Moren, a Boiler alum, has effectively turned Mackey Arena into Assembly Hall North.

Football is uhhhhh a bit of a different story. Purdue had some golden years with a guy named Drew Brees and is a pretty healthy bowl program at this point and Indiana lost a lot of games that everyone talks about but rocketed up to the top-10 in every major poll in 2020 before [REDACTED].

It’s a tired, neverending argument on which is superior to the other. Nobody will ever win. When Purdue men’s basketball eventually one day wins that coveted national title, the response will be “okay win four more” to which a retort will be “win one this century.” When Indiana’s women’s program raises their own banner, Purdue will get to say they did it first.

But... most of this is in good fun. We’re all adults here.

Like, I can’t really fully hate Purdue. I can and absolutely will poke fun at them should the opportunity present itself (which lately, lol) but, as stated before, I have friends who went there and in the fanbase.

I’m not gonna go telling a guy his shirt sucks (which, speaking of good Indiana and Purdue shirts) just because it’s a Purdue shirt. Or harassing a dude on a plane because he’s wearing Boiler gear (entirely hypothetical and unheard of, any notion that this is related to actual events is absurd).

It’s just not that hot of a rivalry. There was no genesis event like a border war or anything aside from Purdue establishing a school that Indiana wanted, I guess.

But I’m not gonna go getting effusive in praise for Purdue. This is a rivalry after all so this is all you’re gonna get.

  • I would like to try Boiler Gold
  • Katie Gearlds seems cool
  • I’d get a beer with Matt Painter
  • Ryan Walters is indeed doing things
  • Talking ball with Purdue fans can be pretty good (sometimes)

Alright that’s enough.

Now, for the Purdue perspective on Indiana, we’ve enlisted the services of known Boiler poster @JamesKnowsBall, here’s what he had to say:

So its a bit unique for me compared to a homegrown born and raised Hoosier.

When I first started at Purdue, I adopted the “yeahhhh IU sucks lmao who would go there” mentality like any freshman would, and that kinda lasted for a little while, but for some reason I couldnt really hate like other guys hated. I grew up rooting for Alabama and Virginia Tech after having lived in both states, so I, at the time, hated Virginia and Auburn more than IU.

I think, for the most part, IU students are pretty cool people. Both fanbases are really down to earth at the end of the day, and whenever I’m in Virginia and see a guy in IU gear while im in Purdue gear its almost as if theres a positive connection. The rivalry is there, but its a common interest in an uncommon place which is really fuckin cool in my opinion. I havent been to Bloomington yet, but Im really excited to go and eventually check the place out because im into small town artsy shit lol.

Obviously I want to beat you guys and have to hate you guys legally, but at the end of the day there is no legitimate hate. If you are a Michigan fan, you might get jumped and attacked traveling through Columbus, Ohio on a game day. If you are a Hoosier fan coming to West Lafayette, you will be welcomed with hospitality (to an extent like if you walk into Harrys you will get booed to fuckin hell).

But in saying all of this, there is a general consensus on campus that IU may as well be a terrorist organization. That’s how much people want IU to fail and be beaten. I truly think my feelings towards you guys are so different because of where I was raised and the teams ive rooted for over the years. I remember walking the hallways in high school in Indiana as a guy who had no tie to IU or Purdue and never understanding why people got so hostile during game week, but now it makes so much sense and I get into it too especially online lol.

But yeah ill toss an IU sucks at a guy on the street during the hate weeks, but aside from the few hate weeks, we have a common bond that is really cool. I mean we are both from Indiana at the end of the day.

If you ask my wife’s dad who managed Purdue basketball, he absolutely despises you guys and has to deal with getting shit on at work if we lose to you, but hes a born and raised hoosier. I think another thing too is when I worked guest services at events I had to interact with fans so much and take a semi-neutral stance at games because I had to take care of everyone and be a safe point of contact for all fans. That kinda brought me to not hate fanbases or anything like some people do.